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Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor delivered the annual State of the Judiciary speech in September 2019.

Chief Justice Speaks Out On Masks, Rights And “Duty To Fellow Ohioans”

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Ohioans in a total of 12 counties will be required to wear masks starting Friday at 6pm. But there continue to be questions about the enforcement and legality of that and other public health orders, as lawmakers push back on some of the state’s COVID-19 responses. Shutdown orders and… Read More

Mike DeWine wearing mask

DeWine Issues Guidance For Colleges, Universities; Mask Mandate Extended To 12 Counties

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The number of counties where masks are required in indoor business spaces and public places has gone up to 12, with one county falling off the initial list and five more being added. Masks will be required starting Friday at 6pm in Clermont, Wood, Lorain, Summit, Pickaway and Fairfield Counties…. Read More

Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) holds a briefing with reporters after a House session in May. Householder has said he can't impose a mask mandate on other elected officeholders, even those in his GOP House caucus.

As Mask Mandate Goes Into Effect, Questions Are Raised About Enforcement

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Gov. Mike DeWine’s requirement that people in seven hot-spot counties wear masks inside businesses and in public places starting Wednesday night at 6 has raised the question of how it will be enforced. Butler County is one of those seven counties marked in red on the state’s alert map. Butler County… Read More

An Ohio National Guard soldier watches a forklift move a load of personal protective equipment as part of a mission in April. This was one of several pandemic-related assignments the Guard has been deployed on since March.

DeWine Says Testing Will Continue At Nursing Homes Without National Guard Help

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Nearly three quarters of all confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Ohio have been in nursing homes. Ohio National Guard personnel have been helping with testing in long term care facilities, but the funding for them to continue that and other pandemic related missions runs out in a month. Guard personnel have been… Read More

Latest Quinnipiac Poll Shows Ohio Presidential Race In Virtual Tie

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A new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters shows Ohio may be a swing state once again. The race between President Trump and likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden is a virtual dead heat with a little over four months to go before the November election. Biden is at 46%. Trump – who won Ohio by eight points… Read More

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Jobless Benefits Fund Broke; Ohio Starts Borrowing From Feds

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The fund by which Ohio pays jobless benefits is officially broke, and the state has asked to borrow nearly $4 billion so payments can keep going out to unemployed workers. The state has paid out $4.1 billion to 699,000 Ohioans in the last 90 days. That’s a billion more than… Read More

Child Abuse Reports Down, But Advocates Say Abuse May Be More Prevalent

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Reports of child abuse in Ohio are down dramatically, but those working in the field say they’re concerned that the real incidents of child abuse are actually on the rise. Advocates are preparing for a surge of new reports that could come from child care providers, camps and eventually schools… Read More

Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City)

State Sen. Under Fire For Racially Insensitive Question At Hearing On Racism

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — A Republican state senator from the Dayton area has lost his job as an emergency room doctor after asking a racially insensitive question at a hearing on a resolution to declare racism a public health crisis. Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) has issued a statement saying his question was “unintentionally… Read More

Office of Budget and Management director Kimberly Murnieks

Ohio Handles One Budget Shortfall, But Another Deficit Is Looming Soon

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Using three quarters of a billion dollars in cuts and some reserve cash and federal Medicaid funding, the state of Ohio has staved off a budget deficit for the fiscal year that ends on June 30. But there’s a huge shortfall ahead for the year that begins on July 1…. Read More

The sponsors of the Senate resolution, Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and Sen. Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) offer proponent testimony. The lone Republican who signed on, Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton, bottom left) is among those looking on.

Resolution Declaring Racism A Public Health Crisis Gets First Hearing

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — More than 50 people were signed up to speak out at the first hearing in the Ohio Senate for a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. They were some of the more than 130 people and groups who provided written testimony in support of the proposal backed by eight Senate… Read More

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman

Portman: We Need “A More Calming Tone” From Trump

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Statehouse News Bureau) — As protests continue across Ohio and the country, the state’s Republican U.S. Senator says President Trump could be doing more to help those demonstrations from spiraling into violence. As criticism poured in for police use of gas and smoke to remove protestors from in front of a church so… Read More

A sign in the Statehouse shows the Senate and the House directions

Senate Rejects Proposal To Require Written Consent For Contact Tracing

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — A proposal from the Ohio House that would require people with COVID-19 give consent to contact tracing in writing has been rejected by the Senate. That sends the bill to a conference committee. A dozen Senators voted for the amendment, which was attached to a bill that would shield 911 operators’ personal information from… Read More

The Ohio Statehouse behind trees

Threats Against Two Democratic Lawmakers Bring Support, Investigation

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — An investigation is ongoing into threats targeting two sitting Democratic state lawmakers, a well-known senator from Akron who’s served in both chambers and his daughter, who leads the minority in the Ohio House. And some state leaders are speaking out. Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said the threats received by… Read More

The latest model on the Ohio Department of Health's coronavirus website, showing a peak of around 1,600 cases April 18. The state recorded a high of 1,353 cases on April 19.

Experts Evaluating COVID-19 Projections as Economy Reopens

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — With most of Ohio’s businesses allowed to open up, experts who’ve worked with the state on the modeling it used to create its COVID-19 policies are evaluating their predictions for what’s ahead. The state has worked with Ohio State University and the Cleveland Clinic on its projections on the spread… Read More

Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) at a press conference with other Ohio House Democrats in 2019.

“Worker Protection Act” Proposed to Help Those Who are at Risk from Working Conditions

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — As Ohio opens for business again, many workers have qualms about returning to their jobs. Some Democrats are proposing a bill they say will protect those workers. Rep. David Leland sat on the House committee that heard from business owners who wanted to reopen. But he says the panel never heard from… Read More

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

DeWine Says He Has Options After Budget Cuts, but Tax Hike isn’t Among Them

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — With a state budget deficit of three quarters of a billion dollars and just two months left in the fiscal year, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered huge cuts to schools, Medicaid and other areas. He says he’s considering other options going forward, but he has ruled out one possibility. It’s hard to… Read More

The entrance to Continuing Health Care in Gahanna, where two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 tests, but no residents have.

Ohio National Guard Will Bring Testing to Nursing Homes

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — There have been at least 674 deaths from coronavirus at nursing homes in Ohio, which is 43% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 deaths. After saying for weeks that nursing home residents who have symptoms are tested but limitations prevented mass testing, there’s a plan for more tests in long-term care facilities…. Read More

The Spot, located in Grandview west of downtown Columbus, is one of the 35 independent gyms suing the state over its shutdown order.

Libertarian Group Sues State Again Over Shutdown Orders, This Time for Closed Gyms

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — A group of 35 independent gyms and fitness centers is suing the state, saying they could reopen for business safely but they’re not being allowed to. Attorney Maurice Thompson said in his filing that gyms maintain private memberships, control who can come in and often operate by appointment, they “pose a significantly… Read More

Ohio State Supreme Court building

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State School Takeover Law

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The Ohio Supreme Court has let stand the law that allows the state to take over failing school districts, starting with the Youngstown City Schools in 2015. By a 5-2 vote, the court disagreed with the Youngstown City Schools, which said the addition of a 67-page amendment on the… Read More

Unemployment

Jobless Benefits System to Pay Ohio’s 1099, Self-Employed and Other Workers Online

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — This morning brought long-awaited news for the self-employed, independent contractors and 1099 workers in Ohio – the system to pay them jobless benefits is live. The notice hit inboxes early, said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall. “At 7am we sent out I think 90,000 emails…. Read More

A closed sign in a store near downtown Columbus

Only Half of 1.1 Million Jobless Claims Have Been Paid

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The Ohio Department Job and Family Services has paid more than $2 billion in unemployment claims to nearly 560,000 Ohioans since mid-March. But that’s only half of the 1.1 million claims that have been filed. ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall said some people have filed more than once, so when duplicate claims… Read More